Risk and the Design Professional

Association of Construction and Development
September 17, 2012 — 1,383 views  

Professionals who work in the area of design are being called upon to
handle increasingly challenging, complex projects. Design professionals who
work in the construction, remodeling and architecture industries in particular
carry the burden of heavy risks. Contractors and other design professionals
should carefully consider the most common risks that they face, which are
listed below. Proactive strategies to prevent, mitigate and manage risk should
be put in place by such professionals. 

Site Safety Issues

Contractors and remodeling professionals who are responsible for overseeing
construction sites must carefully manage a large number of site safety issues.
All sites must comply with Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA)
standards. Sites must also be carefully managed to minimize the risk of safety
problems caused by inattentive employees. 

Code Compliance Issues

Design professionals who work in multiple counties or states may run into
issues with code compliance. Because building codes can vary significantly from
county to county, design professionals must be careful to adhere to the
applicable codes for the county in which their design will be erected.
Designers who are interested in new construction methods may also run into
problems with code compliance. 

Communication and Documentation Issues

It is essential that design professionals document every phase of a project.
Strong documentation practices can be used to prove that a designer did due
diligence when working on a project. If aspects of a project change, it is
essential that designers clearly communicate changes and document their
communication efforts. This is particularly essential when changes are made in
order to bring a design into compliance with code. Designers should be able to
show that they did everything in their power to ensure that a design was
erected in accordance with all applicable laws. 

Professional Liability Issues

Every design professional strives to create plans that offer structural
integrity. Unfortunately, some designs do not stand up during natural disasters
or other unexpected events. In these cases, a designer may be professionally
liable for failing to ensure that a design could withstand a reasonable degree of

Green Design Issues

One of the newest types of risk that design professionals face is related to
green construction. Several bodies have been created to manage standards for
green design. Designers who fail to follow these standards while undertaking
green projects may be held liable for shortcomings in meeting United States
Green Building Council (USGBC) standards.

Association of Construction and Development